On This Date: Wish Xavier McDaniel a Happy Birthday!

June 4th 1963: Xavier McDaniel’s Birthday

Xavier “X-Man” McDaniel celebrated his birthday on this date. The Seattle Supersonics drafted X-Man as the 4th overall pick in the 1985 NBA Draft. After several solid seasons with the Sonics, the team dealt X-Man to the Phoenix Suns early in the 1990-91 season.

Shortly before the 1991-92 season, the Suns traded McDaniel to the Knicks for Jerrod Mustaf, Trent Tucker, and a couple 2nd round picks. X-Man perfectly fit into Pat Riley’s system and culture providing the toughness and intensity that permeated throughout the locker room. He was known for his tough battles with Scottie Pippen in the 1992 NBA Playoffs.

Following the 1991-92 season, Knicks President Dave Checketts, for some strange reason, decided to wait until past September to try to re-sign X-Man. Unfortunately, X-Man and agent David Falk moved on from the Knicks and signed a three year contract with the Boston Celtics. Facing a gap at the small forward position, Checketts went ahead to acquire Charles Smith in a three-team deal that sent Mark Jackson to the Los Angeles Clippers and Doc Rivers to NY.

X-Man seemed a perfect fit for NY and perhaps Dave Checketts should have spent more energy keeping him on the roster.

On This Date: Knicks Open 1990-1991 Season with an overtime win against the Charlotte Hornets

November 2nd 1990:  Knicks open the season with a 134-130 overtime win against the Charlotte Hornets

Patrick Ewing led the team with 38 points, 12 rebounds, 7 blocks, and 4 assists on 14-23 FGM and 10-14 FTM. Ewing was joined by 4 other players who scored in double figures, including 25 points from Gerald Wilkins, and 22 points and 7 assists from Mark Jackson. Additionally, Charles Oakley secured 15 rebounds and 4 assists for the Knicks.  

The game also marked the debut of Knick rookie Jerrod Mustaf, picked 17th by the organization in the 1990 NBA Draft. Mustaf scored 4 points in 13 minutes. Mustaf played sparingly during his rookie campaign and was dealt shortly before the 1991-92 season, along with Trent Tucker and two second-round draft picks for Xavier “X-Man” McDaniels. Mustaf only played four nondescript seasons in the league and X-Man had a productive season with the Knicks before departing in free agency in the following season.

The Knick bench also featured several notable players who started the season with injuries. One of those players was a tenacious guard in John Starks. Starks notoriously made the roster after he sprained his right knee trying to dunk over Patrick Ewing. Since Starks was a training camp invite, the team could only release him if he was fully healthy by December. As his recover period went beyond December, the Knicks were forced to keep him on the roster.

Additionally, Trent Tucker was on the roster, but was not active for the game due to a bruised heel. Tucker is now infamously known for the the “Trent Tucker Rule” where a shot can’t be taken if there is less than 0.3 seconds on the clock. The Trent Tucker Rule was officially adopted for the 1990-1991 season after Tucker hit the infamous shot on MLK day in the previous season. Tucker was later traded, with Mustaf, for X-Man.

Kenny “Sky” Walker was also on the bench, but was hindered by chronic knee injuries that season.  The rash of injuries ultimately led him overseas with a 2-year pitstop with the Washington Wizards (f/k/a/ Bullets).